MANILAThe Chinese top diplomat in Manila praised the "sustained betterment and growth" in the Philippine-China relations as tourist arrivals from Beijing increased, and the construction of China-funded infrastructure projects in the country progressed "positively" in 2018.
"Over the past two years, under the guidance of our two leaders, China-Philippine relations have achieved an overall turnaround, enjoyed a sustained growth with strength and depth, and surged forward along a fast track," Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said at the Spring Festival Reception in Makati City on Tuesday.
He noted that "the year 2018 witnessed a sustained betterment and growth of China-Philippines relations."
Zhao said China is the Philippines' fastest growing tourist source market after it received a total of 1.25 million Chinese visitors in 2018, achieving a 29.6 percent year-on-year increase.
The construction of drug-rehabilitation centers, two bridges over Pasig River and the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project funded by China's grants or soft loans have also "made positive progress," Zhao added.
Moreover, China remains as the Philippines' "top trading partner and import origin, and the fourth largest export market."
In the past two years, Zhao said China has imported more than 2 million tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines which generated more than USD1.5-billion revenue for 40,000 Filipino farmers.
During the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai last November 2018, the envoy also noted that Philippine companies sold USD124 million-worth of goods and services.
In his speech, Zhao attributed this progress to the "support and facilitation provided by the friends of China from all walks of life and the Chinese communities in the Philippines."
China and the Philippines made efforts to thaw its frozen ties following decades of bitter maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.
Under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Philippines decided to follow a compartmentalized approach in engaging China by putting into separate tracks the pursuit to improved economic and cultural ties, and the issue of territorial dispute. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency